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HealthNEWS December 2012

for Boomers and Beyond

A Season of Sadness — Winter Can Trigger Depression As fall slides deeper into winter, does a familiar downturn in your mood start to settle in? If so, you might have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression linked to low amounts of sunlight that occur during the shorter days of winter. Symptoms tend to start in the fall and diminish with the brighter days of spring. Often, January and February are the most difficult months for someone with SAD. Some experts even talk about something known as the “holiday blues.” Holiday blues are feelings of sadness, loneliness, and even depression that often occur around holiday periods. “Too often we take holiday stress for granted. We expect it, ignore it, and think it will just go away,” says Mark Springer, Jackson Hospital chaplain and patient advocate. “What we don’t think about is that we often have higher expectations for the holiday season than for any other time of the year.” Along with having depressive symptoms, such as low self-esteem or hopelessness, a person who has SAD may:   • feel extremely tired much of the time.   • lack interest in usual activities, including sex.   • try to avoid social contact.   • overeat or crave sweet or starchy foods.   • sleep more than usual or wake during the  night or early morning hours.

“During the holiday season and winter months especially, we place more pressure on ourselves which increases the likelihood we will be disappointed,” says Springer. “This disappointment amplified by that ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ mentality can lead to sadness and even depression.” While many people are only mildly or moderately affected by SAD, others can have significant symptoms that affect their daily lives. Most of the people who have SAD are women, many of whom first notice the symptoms in their late teens or 20s. And since SAD is related to seasonal changes in light, people may be more likely to have SAD the farther north they live—and the episodes may be more severe and long-lasting too, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports.

If you suspect you have SAD, talk to your healthcare provider. Effective treatments are available. It’s also important to make sure you don’t have a more serious medical condition, such as major depression. For milder SAD, health professionals may suggest that you improve the natural lighting in your home and that you do more activities outdoors, such as walking, during daylight hours. If these changes don’t help, light therapy may be prescribed. Light therapy, also called phototherapy,

involves increasing your exposure to bright white light, the source of which is often a special fluorescent light box. Light treatments may last 20 minutes or longer each day during the winter. Studies show that light therapy is effective in up to 80 percent of people who have SAD, reports the NAMI. Antidepressant medicines and talk therapy— either alone or with light therapy—also may be recommended to help you feel better. To learn more about SAD, go to www.nami.org.

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December 2012

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BOOM!, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Contents

December 2012

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

Volume 3 Issue 5

Carl Bard

Thought Relationships Taste Inspiration

Humor Advice Health Community

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

3 Jackson Hospital’s Health News 7 Downtown for the Holidays! 8 Publisher’s Letter 12 BOOM! Cover Profile 15 Health News page 10

Features 16 Bucket List Adventure With the Grandkids!

Departments 10 This and That Have you heard...?

18 Time to Cash In?

Time to take Social Security

28 {12} Things

Solutions for bored Boomers

21 Jumping for Joy, Aging But Dangerous! “We’re Warm at this Age”

30 Male Call

Greg Budell, “$7,000 canned ham”

22 Healthy Hearing, Beware of Do-ityourself Hearing Care 24 The Dating Coach: Your Ideal Man? 25 Guide to Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) 27 Pat Dye’s Quail Hollow Gardens 31 BOOM! Advertising

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COVER PROFILE page12

page 11

page 16

page 21

BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 8637 Harvest Ridge Dr., Montgomery, AL 36116. The phone number for voice and fax is 334.523.9510. Copyright 2012 by River Region Publications. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products and services herein.

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December 2012

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F R A Z E R

DECEMbER

15 & 16 Wesley Hall

starts at 7 p. m .

U M C

P R E S E N T S

Experience the warmth, hope, laughter, and love that Christmas cards bring, brought

to life through stage and song.

Features over 200 voice choir, full orchestra, soloists and ensembles in musical styles ranging from traditional, to big band, to contemporary. The program is free, and childcare is available for ages infant to three.

FRAZER METHODIST Highway, Montgomery riverregionboom.comCHURCH • frazerumc.org • 6000 Atlanta December 2012 The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine 6 BOOM! UNITED


Downtown for the Holidays.... Downtown Montgomery’s Dream in December, Tallapoosa and Commerce Streets. December 8th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, 22nd. Time: 5 - 8pm

W A Christmas Carol Scene W Santa Clause and His Sleigh (Photo Op) W Christmas Village with Large Lighted Christmas Tree and Snow

W Market Place with Trees, Garland, Wreaths, Baked Goods and Candies

W Tacky Lights Trolley Rides W Horse Drawn Carriage Rides W Beautiful Lights in Downtown Entertainment District

W Children’s Activities include: Giant Movie Screen with Holiday Movies, S’mores and Hot Chocolate

Every weekend from December 7th to December 22nd, the Harriott II welcomes Santa on board! Plan a Christmas party or make a reservation for your family to enjoy a great holiday dinner and special night with Santa! Cruising with Santa includes a holiday dinner, live entertainment, and cookies & cocoa with the star of the night, SANTA! This cruise boards at 6:30 p.m. and cruises from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Prices are as follows: -Adult w/ Dinner - $42.95 -Child w/ Dinner - $22.95 -Adult w/o Dinner (Patio) - $19 -Child w/o Dinner (Patio) - $12 Live Entertainment and Cash Bar will be available.

Night of Lights Downtown Montgomery’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. December 31st at 9:30pm Commerce Street. This year Downtown Montgomery will help you bring in the New Year! Join us as we ring in the year of 2013 with Live Music along with participation from all of your favorite downtown spots. The festivities will begin at 9:30pm on Commerce Street with Groove Merchants taking the stage. Creativity will follow when they take the stage at 11:15pm. When the clock strikes midnight, we will close 2012 with a virtual rise and ring in 2013 with confetti and fireworks, brought to you by PCI. Events are FREE! Food and beverages available for purchase. Happy New Year!

For more information contact the Riverfront Office at (334) 625-2100 or visit www.funontheriver.net

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publisher’s letter

Meditate on Your Blessings The mission of BOOM! is to serve the folks of the River Region age 50 plus with information and ideas to inspire new experiences, better quality of life and new beginnings.

In this month’s issue of BOOM! we have lots of goodies for all the Boomer Boys and Girls. First off, we have a terrific BOOM! Cover Profile in Wanica Means. She has a strong interest in the social graces and her life experiences have given her a unique perspective. I think you’ll enjoy reading about some of her life’s journey.

Publisher/Editor

Jim Watson, 334.523.9510 jim@riverregionboom.com

For all the grandparents out there who just happen to have on your Bucket List a new experience with the grandkids, we have just the thing this holiday, Shrek and the Donkey will lead the way!

Associate Editor Kelly Watson

kelly@riverregionboom.com

Contributing Writers Sandi Aplin Dr. Bettie Borton Greg Budell Lisa Copeland Christy DeSmith Michelle Motley Giddens Emma Johnson Wanica Means Kathy Witt

Cover Photography Lola Fine Art Photography

twololas@lolafineartphotography.com

www.lolafineartphotography.com 334.551.2700

Advertising

Jim Watson, 334.523.9510 jim@riverregionboom.com

Monette Mottenon, 334.523.9510

monette@riverregionboom.com

Design & Layout Lake House Graphics

Distribution

Network Delivery

Printing

Publications Press, Montgomery, AL 334.244.0436

Jim Watson, Publisher

Other goodies in this month’s issue include some dating advice on what kind of a man you’re really interested in from Linda Copeland who gives advice to women over 50. Of course, for those of you asking the question, “what’s Pat Dye been up to?” Sandi Aplin found out and shares with you in her column, Art and Soul. We also have some answers to when to take your Social Security benefits. The value of exercise for our hearts and our brains, as we age. And our favorite radio guy, Greg Budell, offers an extraordinary Christmas story about a canned ham worth $7,000! There is plenty more to check out this month, so get an eggnog and enjoy the read. We have new advertisers this month because they value you. Most businesses know that the majority of our readers are women age 50+ and that they control most purchases and have the most wealth of any consumer group. We appreciate the opportunity to serve those businesses that value our readers, please consider their products and services. Thanks for sharing BOOM! with your friends. I was recently reading about how people began their days and someone said they spend 10 minutes each day meditating on their blessings in life. What they are grateful for, in God, in yourself, among your family and friends, in your career, and the like. That sounds like a great way to begin your day. As a Christian I know my blessings come from God and He has poured out His Grace on me in a mighty big way. I am thankful for His Amazing Grace because I recall life without Him. Separated from the creator is the loneliest place we can be and during the Christmas season I especially reflect on God’s great gift of salvation through the saving Grace of His son, Jesus Christ. I am forgiven and I am free in Him. I’ll begin my day meditating on His Grace and the Blessing it has been in my life. Have a Very Merry Christmas and share your blessings with others.

Jim

Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!

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Some of you think that aging is a dangerous proposition. Well there’s a group of women out there who feel the same way. They created a group called Aging but Dangerous and they got together for a little joy jumping and martini’s, talk about dangerous!

jim@riverregionboom.com 334.324.3472 cell/text 334.523.9510 office

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HEAR for the holidays RECONNECT. ENGAGE.

From the staff of Doctors Hearing Clinic:

Have a wonderful holiday! Bettie B. Borton, Au.D., FAAA, Board-certified Doctor of Audiology President Elect of the American Academy of Audiology

Friends & Family GIFT COUPON

Stop by our offices and pick up a $250 holiday gift certificate for your friends and family. This gift certificate is absolutely free and makes a wonderful holiday gift! Applicable toward an AGX 5, 7, or 9 two-device system. Expires 12/31/12.

Doctors Hearing Clinic Helping People Hear!

MONTGOMERY 7025 Halcyon Park Dr, Ste A

334.396.1635

2012 The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

OpElika 2204-D Gateway Dr

334.745.1635

www.doctorshearingclinic.com r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

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i

This & tHAT Fantasy in Lights

This holiday season marks the 21ST anniversary of Fantasy in Lights® — named one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler - at Callaway Gardens. Fantasy in Lights features 8 million lights stretching more than five miles, creating 15 larger-than-life holiday scenes. Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens sets Pine Mountain, Ga., ablaze through December 30th. Advance ticket prices range from $16 to $22 for adults and $8 to $11 for children, with children 5 and younger always admitted for free. Same-day, first-available tickets are $25 for adults and $12.50 for children. Experience the light and sound extravaganza on the “Jolly Trolley” or by driving through the lighted scenes in your personal vehicle. The sparkling, animated displays include Snowflake Valley, a winter wonderland filled with enormous snowflakes and thousands of white lights; Magical Christmas Garden with a 24-foot wreath entrance; and Santa’s Workshop, showcasing animated versions of Santa’s elves busy making toys for the big night. Two “don’t miss” scenes are on Robin Lake Beach and are both narrated: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Nativity. To experience the most spectacular holiday light and show in the South, visit www.callawaygardens.com or call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292).

Cloverdale Playhouse Holiday Offer Season’s Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn. A “typical” holiday gathering of family around the table and, on occasion, under the Christmas tree has Neville and Belinda wondering if order can be restored by Boxing Day. The arrival of an unexpected guest and a “performance” by a puppet theater supply abundant laughs and a ruffled feather or two…… from the great British playwright, Alan Ayckbourn. Performances: December 6 – 16, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 2pm www.cloverdaleplayhouse.org

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the holiday shopping season is now upon us. With just a few weeks until Christmas day, many shoppers are feverishly trying to find the perfect meaningful gifts for everyone on their list. Between the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to the last minute sales just before Christmas, the American commercialization of Christmas plays a very big part in how much the average American pays for all of his or her holiday expenses. According to a study performed by the American Research Group, Inc., Americans will be spending more money on gifts in 2012 than they did last year. In 2011, the average American spent $646 on holiday gifts. In 2012, it is expected that the average American will be spending $854 in gifts for friends and loved ones. American Parents Spend $271 on Christmas Gifts Per Child. Costs can rise for families, especially for parents with underage children. According to an article released by MSN in December 2011, American parents planned to spend an average of $271 per child in Christmas gifts. One in 10 parents said the plan was to spend over $500 per child.

Average Cost of an American Christmas

Make Unique Gifts with the Grandkids! Bring family members and friends to make art projects with a holiday theme and create unique gifts at MMFA Studio Classes. Get the kids and make a special Holiday Memory. Call 334.240.4365 for more information or visit www.mmfa.org

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BOOMERS, share your stuff with BOOM! We Love to Bring BOOMERS Together, send info and pics to jim@riverregionboom.com

Civic Leaders and Companies Honored on National Philanthropy Day Karen Sellers, Samuel Whalum, Jr., Hyundai Motor Company, and The Edmundite Catholic Missions recently received community gratitude and honors as the Central Alabama Chapter of Fundraising Professionals presented its local Philanthropy Day awards. The award for Outstanding Civic Leader went to Samuel Whalum, Jr., retired Chief Master Sergeant and Commandant of the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Air University. Whalum is well known throughout the region for his exceptional leadership and his ability to recruit and motivate others. Karen Sellers, Director of the Family Sunshine Center, was named the 2012 Outstanding Fundraising Executive. For over 31 years, Sellers has directed FSC from a staff of two, operating in a drafty old house, to a (L-R) Karen Sellers, Robert Burns, multi-service agency bringing shelter, hope and healing to Chad McEachern, and Samuel Whalum, Jr. hundreds of family violence victims each year. She has sought and received numerous grants and other funding from the local, state and national levels. In a surprise moment, Ann Harper also introduced the inaugural AFP Chapter Service Award which she presented to Frazer Older Adult Pat Thornton, former two term president and secretary-treasurer of the Central AL Chapter. Thornton’s Trip Ministry career includes planned giving manager at the Southern Poverty Law Center and many years serving Montgomery’s Catholic schools with their development efforts. Harper credited Pat for her dedication to Ann Harper and Pat Thornton AFP’s mission and keeping the chapter moving forward as it serves the greater Montgomery non-profit community.

Don’t Worry, Be Healthy The adage, “Don’t worry, be happy,” suddenly has a lot more weight behind it, thanks to the latest medical research. In the first-ever systematic review of happiness and heart health, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston have found that a positive outlook on life can actually protect your heart from cardiovascular disease. In this comprehensive review of over 200 studies of various forms of wellbeing and cardiovascular health outcomes—optimism, positive emotions and a sense of meaning—offer measurable protection against heart attacks and strokes. These characteristics have been found to slow the progression of cardiovascular disease as well. Researchers found that the most optimistic individuals had approximately 50 percent less chance of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers. Worry divides the mind, Max Lucado

Jackson Hospital Volunteers Needed for Evening Shift Jackson Hospital is looking for volunteers for the information desk. These volunteers are needed for the evening shift, 5-8:30pm, Monday through Friday. Volunteers must be at least 18-years old, who are friendly and eager to offer information for those visiting the hospital. With this position, a free meal will be given as well as a parking spot next to the lobby. Volunteering at Jackson Hospital is a rewarding experience. Volunteers are asked to work 4 hours a week, and must complete an application and pass a background check and health screening. If you are interested in joining our team of volunteers, please visit www.jackson.org/patients_volunteers.html and fill out the application. For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact our volunteer services director at 334-293-8967.

Exercise for the Post 50 Can Improve Your Attitudes about Aging You’ve heard all the claims about the value of exercise. Yet, do you still find it difficult to motivate yourself to hop on that treadmill, lift those weights or stretch those muscles? Well now your workout routine could be the most important part of your aging attitude.an important part of your life. As reported in the March 2012 issue of the Psychology of Sport and Exercise, regular physical activity can make you both stronger in body and mind. The study, used women ranging from 70 to 93 years old divided into three groups. The physical exercise group completed three 90-minute sessions per week, during which they rode a stationary bike, lifted weights, and improved their balance. They were compared to a cognitive exercise group who received classroom training in the use of computers. The third group went about their usual everyday routines which did not include either type of specific activity. By the end of the six-month period, the women in the physical exercise group showed a significant improvement in their positive attitude toward getting older compared to the women in the two control conditions. Surprisingly, though, the women in the computer training group actually became slightly more negative toward getting older over the course of the study. This shows that the results were specific to exercise, not just group activity. If anything, it’s possible that the women in the computer class felt worse about aging because they became more aware of some of their cognitive limitations, especially if they found the material to be difficult to learn. Over the course of the study, the women in the physical exercise group became stronger in their motivation to physical activity. The more they exercised, the more they found the exercise to be rewarding for its own sake! The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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BOOM! COVER PROFILE

Wanica Means, Restoring Social Graces This month’s BOOM! profile is Wanica Means. We recently met Wanica when she inquired about our fashion layout for Boomer Women in the November issue. As it turns out, Wanica has a background in fashion, business etiquette and social graces and wanted to explore possibilities of contributing to the BOOM! Community. In addition to doing some writing, we decided to ask her to be a BOOM! Cover profile. We sat down with Wanica recently and she shared some of her life’s journey with us. Hope you enjoy getting to know Wanica as much as we have.

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, did you raise your family here, schools, married, family, etc? Wanica: I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama where I graduated high school and studied Business Administration at Jefferson State College and Alabama State University. As a result of winning several beauty titles, I was awarded a scholarship to a local Modeling and Charm School where I got my first taste of the benefits of etiquette, manners and social graces. As I was eager to explore the world, I left Alabama and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. While there, I worked as Chief of Staff to the Mayor, City of Oakland, and as an executive with such companies as Nestle’ Beverage, Charles Schwab Investments, and New York Life Insurance. I eventually left Corporate America for the public sector where I coordinated fundraisers for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and served as Project Manager for Catholic Charities of the East Bay. Two years ago, after taking early retirement and having spent most of my adult life in Northern California, I decided to return home to Alabama. I have one son and two grandchildren who still reside in the Bay Area. BOOM!: As someone who is experienced in teaching business etiquette and social graces, how can Boomers instill these qualities in their grandchildren? Wanica: The best way to instill these qualities is by setting a good example. Long before

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Summertime in Paris: Wanica, Maudelle and Joan

we think about teaching our grandchildren the basics of good manners, they shape their own actions by watching and listening to us and their parents – they see how we deal with telephone conversations, visitors, relatives and so on. Parents and Grandparents are full-time role models for our children, and – without putting too much pressure on parents, the entire world depends on us to turn out civilized, polite members of the next generation. Fortunately, we are given numerous opportunities to explain the rules of etiquette inside as well as outside of our homes by insisting that our grandchildren follow such basic rules as: always saying “please”, “excuse me” and “thank you”; being responsible for their words and actions; keeping their rooms tidy; picking up after themselves (no matter where they go); learning proper table manners; knowing how to agree to disagree courteously; becoming good listeners; respecting the privacy of others; practicing patience, and much, much more which I teach in my etiquette classes. Helping our grandchildren practice good manners also consists of setting limits and rules, being consistent, and following through – don’t just tell them what you don’t want, be positive and optimistic. Discuss the importance of treating each other respectively, and remember to always remain calm. BOOM!: Having spent time in the fashion and beauty industry what is your perspective on how women over 50 should be viewed by these industries?

Wanica: The fashion and beauty industries have awakened to the fact that baby boomers, in general, are not taking too kindly to growing old “gracefully”, we’d like a little help “thank you very much” and we women over 50 are being catered to. Slowly, but surely, these industries are no longer primarily youth obsessed. There is plenty of advertising and marketing featuring mature, attractive over 50 year-olds proving that the “best is yet to come”. I am delighted to see these changes. Pretty soon, there will be a billion of us “over 60’s” and we will make up nearly 20% of the world’s population – that’s a lot of boomer dollars. We have more buying power than any other group, and there is a concerted effort to sell us things that keep us young, hip and in the know. And, if there is strength in numbers, we have the power. Marketers and Madison Avenue is wise to the fact that seniors 55 and over are a target demographic at the high point of their adult lives. Their children are grown, the mortgage is paid off (if you’re lucky), and they have the highest disposable income. Women are living longer and healthier and we want to look as good as we feel. Thus, the market for “anti-aging” products, hip fashions and cosmetic surgery has skyrocketed. While I am all for looking and feeling good about yourself, the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that comes with growing older is priceless. BOOM!: Many Boomers are experiencing a renewed sense of purpose, new goals, new careers, especially if they’ve experienced the empty nest syndrome of their kids moving on. How would you describe this sense of renewal in your life? Any advice for the rest of us seeking renewal? Wanica: I can honestly say that this is the most exciting period of my life. I started re-defining retirement for myself many years ago realizing that it was more of a “mind-set” than anything else. I wanted a lifestyle that would allow me to incorporate “periods of retirement” throughout my work life and to live in such a way that I would never want to

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“retire” from the life I was leading. I did not want the “traditional retirement” of our parents and grand-parents where you worked at the same job for 30-40 years, finally retiring at the age of 65 to the life that you always wanted.

BOOM!: How do you like to relax and wind down from a hard day’s work?

I think that Paris, France is my favorite vacation spot – because I love the intellectual culture. There is so much emphasis on life’s “experiences” as opposed to material things.

Wanica: Because I choose to live alone, I’ve always loved being exposed to new people winding down and new ideas and travel does just that – it at the end of is the absolute best education you can give the day is a lot With my renewed sense of yourself and your grandchildren. While I have easier as there purpose, I have created my traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, is no one to etiquette business, where I Hawaii and Mexico, I still have half the United contend with teach young people, 8-18, the States yet to visit, and look forward to going to but ME. My dying art of good manners Africa, Turkey, Indonesia, Spain and Argentina – living space is and social graces. I am more places that shock the senses. organized and energized than ever because well suited of this new venture. I cannot BOOM!: Does your schedule allow you to be for my needs. express how imperative it is to involved in community, civic or other activities? remain involved and engaged Aboard the Harriott II Riverboat Dinner Cruise w/ This symbol of independence in life as we get older. ExercisWanica: Not as much as I’d like. My father, ElEtiquette students: Jennifer, Keisha and Amy. is one of my ing your mind as well as your der Robert Means, pastors a church in Hayneslife’s little luxuries and something for which I body will pay huge dividends. Being open to ville, Alabama which all of my family attends. am ready to kill to preserve. I never thought new experiences, trying new things will keep I am also a substitute teacher for the PratI’d come to treasure the soft velvety sound you motivated and curious which makes life tville Public School system. Teaching the next of silence as I enter my home more interesting. I learned to swim at age 60, generation after a busy activity-filled day. I and studied to improve my Spanish speaking is our civic treasure silence and its companskills at age 58. Aging is no longer a one-way duty and all ion, slowness. The slow sound ticket to golf-carts and bingo parlors. grandparents of a jazz composition winding The world is becoming “age-friendly”, and we should feel its way from my living room are creating a new “middle age” with people an obligation speakers into my bathroom lit by staying healthy and active into their 60’s and to do so in candlelight. The delicious smell 70’s. This gives most of us time to do those one way or of soup simmering on the stove. things that we could not do before because the other. Carefully putting my things away. we were busy raising a family and working to A glass of wine as I prepare pay off the mortgage. BOOM!: dinner and digest the day’s What is your Family vacation in Florida (l to r) Robert Jr., happenings. I appreciate the BOOM!: What are you most passionate Dream Job? Rhonda, Lynn, Wanica, Yvette, and my dad texture and rhythm of my daily about? routine, and as I transition into the evening, I Wanica: I am living my “Dream Job”. Teaching feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, Wanica: I am constantly in awe of this miracle etiquette, good manners and social graces to gratitude and well-being for whatever I’ve called Life – which provides much to be pasyoung people as an entrepreneur is my soul’s been able to do, no sionate about, i.e., books, calling. Everything that I’ve done up until now matter how small. travel, learning, family has prepared me for this moment - and I am and friends. I love great very grateful. BOOM!: Favorite conversations and organic vacation spot? Any food. I love “being of serBOOM!: What is it about living in the Monttravel dreams planned vice” and giving back to gomery/River Region area that you like? for the future? the community. Teaching etiquette classes to young Wanica: I have not lived in the South for over Wanica: Travel is the people gives me immense 35 years, so coming back to Alabama has been gift that keeps on givjoy. Being outside in a cultural adjustment. But, I am loving it. The ing. I am what you’d nature and being near the pace is slower; people are kinder and gentler, call a “Travelista”, beocean feeds my soul. I am more hospitable. There is a lot of focus on Mom and dad, Ida and Robert Means, cause I love to travel. also passionate about my family and community. Also, there is so much 50th Wedding Anniversary, Atlanta One of my favorite Spiritual life which frees new development. I live in Prattville which is books is “1,000 Places To See Before You Die”. me from the “fear of aging and death” and up and coming, but I am very excited about I love going through that book and highlightinstead focuses my attention on the relationwhat’s happening downtown Montgomery. ing all the places I’ve been and getting excited ships I’ve formed, the work I am doing, the Over the years while living in California, I have about all the places that I’ve yet to see. Travel hard-won wisdom that I have settled into, the always come home for the holidays so I have opens our minds and moves us beyond the kindness that has become “natural”, and the been able to witness this transformation of the familiar. I like to think of the world as a book, effect that I’ve had on everything and everyRiver Region. It is exciting to see the city grow and that those who do not travel read only one around me. – it is a work in progress, and I look forward to one page - it is indeed a classroom without what it will become. walls. continued on page 14

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BOOM!: As you’ve aged, how have your ambitions changed? Wanica: There is now more focus on helping the next generation. I have mellowed with age and grown more comfortable in my own skin. It is now easier to live in the moment, to be truly present with whatever I am currently doing. I am not as driven towards having more stuff and more grateful for everything that I do have, especially family and friends. I am now more committed to teaching and being of service. BOOM!: Give us three words that describe you? Adventurous, Confident, and Independent BOOM!: Do you have any hobbies or other activities that grab your attention? Wanica: I enjoy Thinking and Daydreaming as well as movies and documentaries. I also enjoy reading, cooking, walking and hiking. BOOM!: What are the biggest challenges in teaching young people about social graces? Wanica: Getting young people to see why manners matter, and helping them to make the connection in terms of how it can impact their lives. Etiquette is really an expression of

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a person’s awareness of others, and how we behave says a lot about how we regard other people. Holding a door open or pulling out a chair for someone more senior than oneself says volumes about our respect for the other person, which then says a great deal about us. It makes the person who is kind and thoughtful a much more powerful person, an “agent of good” in the world. As Dale Carnegie has said, “There are four ways in which we contact the world, and we are evaluated and classified by these four contacts which are: what we do, how we look, what we say and how we say it”. Good etiquette can have a positive effect on each of these four key components of human interaction and that is a very powerful lesson for our young people. Etiquette is based on recognizing that society functions best with a set of protocols that are intended to allow us to interact effectively. We have to realize that it is not “all about us”, but rather how we work together in harmony. For young people, learning “why” they should do something instead of simply being told to “just do it” and then applying what they have learned, allows that lesson to stay with them for a lifetime. Good manners and social skills make this a better world in which to live. They enhance communication and encourage kindness and respect among people. It is this understanding that I try to impart on my students.

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BOOM!: How would you describe best practices when it comes to business etiquette? Wanica: Business etiquette refers to the norms and standards that govern socially acceptable behavior in a professional situation. Being familiar with principals related to good business etiquette will leave a lasting impression on the people you come into contact with. In business, what we say and how we react to others socially or professionally can make the difference in creating a positive perception of us and our companies. Best Practices include: creating a positive and professional first impression; understanding the do’s and don’ts of meetings and conferences; knowing the do’s and don’ts of drinking and dining; listening and participating actively; being aware of non-verbal communications issues and learning the cross-cultural basics that can make a difference. Consideration for others is the foundation for business as well as social etiquette. Being your best self in any given situation is what it’s all about. If you have any questions for Wanica you can reach her at 334.356.1099 or wanicameans@yahoo.com. We want to thank Wanica for participating in this month’s BOOM! Cover Profile. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please send them to jim@riverregionboom.com

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Study finds exercise may help prevent dementia We all know that exercise is good for the body. But did you also know that it’s good for the mind too? A new study released by the American Heart Association found that regular physical activity could help older people lower their chances of developing dementia. The study specifically found that those who engaged in moderate exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week reduced their risk of developing vascularrelated dementia by 40 percent and cognitive impairment, which is unusually poor mental function, of any kind by 60 percent. Ana Verdelho, M.D., lead author of the study, says that exercise, “is particularly important for people with vascular risk factors such as hypertension, stroke or diabetes.” The AHA recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to reap the benefits of physical activity. The three-year study included 639 people in their 60s and 70s. By the end, 90 patients had developed dementia and another 147 patients had cognitive impairment.

Should you get a flu shot?

One in five Americans will get the flu this winter, with more than 200,000 sick enough to be hospitalized. Yet most of us still don’t get vaccinated, often because of misconceptions about the shot. Here are some of the most common myths, along with the facts you need to know. MYTH: Only the elderly and those at high risk need to be immunized. FACT: Influenza can make anyone, including the healthiest among us, seriously ill, and even if you don’t develop symptoms yourself, you can pass the virus on to others. MYTH: The flu shot itself can give you a case of the flu. FACT: The virus used in the vaccine is grown in chicken eggs and killed off before it reaches your blood stream. There’s absolutely nothing in it capable of causing the flu.

MYTH: If I have a cold, I should postpone getting a flu shot. FACT: As long as you’re not suffering from a major illness or running a temperature higher than 101 degrees, the flu shot doesn’t present a health risk for you, according to experts.

FACT: There are many options to get a flu shot. Like most things in our daily lives, convenience is king. Retailers and many health care clinics provide walk-in vaccinations, and more and more local health organizations are setting up drivethrough flu shot clinics.

MYTH: You need a doctor’s appointment for a shot. Who has time?

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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By Kathy Witt

Bucket List Adventure: With the Grandkids!

Breaking bread with an ogre or sluicing down a 20-foot chute of solid ice may not be on your holiday bucket list, but you can bet it’s on your grandkids’ wish list, along with the chance to earn Honorary Ogre cred and hobnob with their favorite green swamp dweller. Gaylord Opryland’s “A Country Christmas” event has returned to Nashville for the 29th year, bringing with it Shrek, Princess Fiona and the whole cast from the swamp in the kingdom of Far Far Away. There’ll be dancin’ in the streets, feasting with the world’s most famous ogre and lots of other “green” themed holiday fun. Also back is the Gaylord’s jaw-dropping world of ICE!, a magical frozen playland carved from 2 million pounds of ice. This year, for the first time, ICE! is all about DreamWorks’ “Shrek the Halls,” and is it ever impressive. BABY, IT’S COLD OUT, ER, IN It’s hard to believe these frozen tableaux, where the temps hover at a brisk 9 degrees and visitors must snap themselves into oompa-loompa type parkas for the journey, are mere steps from the tropical warmth within Opryland’s lushly planted atriums. Here, the dense green foliage, complements of thousands of ornamental plants, get a seasonal pop of color from a profusion of deep red poinsettias and creamy

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white anthuriums, along with thousands upon thousands of twinkle lights, miles of beribboned and be-wreathed garland and a ceiling-scraping Christmas tree dazzling with shiny packages, baubles and stuffed teddy bears.

As irresistible as kids will find the hotel for its “Shrektacular” amenities, their parents and grandparents will love it for its crisp and comfy guestrooms and suites (nearly 3,000 of them), many with black wrought iron balconies overlooking the gardens, fountains, waterfalls and river that flows through the nine acres of gardens. This, plus an array of restaurants, burgers-and-fries casual, “outdoor” cafes meandering beneath the glassed rooftop, an upscale steak house tucked into an antebellum mansion and more, please the big people in the party. And the activities? Inexhaustible. The list includes everything from retail shops, ice cream parlor and coffee klatches to the chummy Library Lounge perched on Delta Island, for ordering up martinis, not checking out books, to the spa and fitness center to the roaring fireplaces

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in the Magnolia lobby where musicians entertain to the seasonal shows that overtake the hotel like an out-of-control snowball. Which loops back to Shrek, Gingy and gang. Part of “A Country Christmas,” the Christmassy DreamWorks Experience jolts to life the animated holiday TV special, already a mustsee tradition, that had this reluctant hero thumbing through a copy of “Christmas for Village Idiots” to create the perfect day for his family. ICE! features a slew of sculptural vignettes, Fiona hugging her babies, the Three Little Pigs cavorting with Pinocchio and Donkey just being his sassy self, all aglow in a kaleidoscope of colors. There looms the ogre himself, grinning ear to ear (that’s 6 feet up and eight massive teeth across), and rising before two slides, the centerpiece of this frozen wonderland. OGRE-SIZED HOLIDAY FUN As cool as ICE! is, it’s just one attraction in Opryland’s Shrek-centric season’s greeting, a full-blown holiday party package that also includes Holiday Shrektacular. This stage show/street party has singers crooning and dancers swirling as they try to instruct Shrek in the true meaning of Christmas. Kids big and small are invited on stage to rock and bop with Shrek, Fiona, Gingy and Puss in Boots, who can really bust a “moveThe River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


it move-it”, along with Po of “Kung Fu Panda” fame and the irrepressible Penguins from “Madagascar.” Then there’s the ShrekFeast where kids can join Shrek and company for a fairytale feast fit for, well, an ogre. While munching Shrek-shaped waffles and pouring a tall one from the bubbling green Magic Chocolate Fountain, the quest is on to solve riddles and puzzles to achieve amateur Ogre- or Ogresshood. (Grandparents and parents may find the made-to-order omelet station, fresh fruits and piping hot coffee more to their taste.) You also can slog right into Shrek’s beloved swamp for a face-to-face encounter with the irascible green giant and arrange to get a holiday wake-up greeting from Shrek, Donkey or Puss in Boots. Even Po or “Madagascar’s” Alex can do the honors. Of course there is decorating gingerbread cookies, a house, stocking and Christmas tree, too, with all the edible trims, including gum drops buttons, plus lots of family photo ops with DreamsWorks’ characters and a scavenger hunt whose theme is based on DreamWorks’ latest film, the animated holiday film, “Rise of the Guardians.” HOLLY JOLLY GOOD TIMES For parents who worry about Shrek-overload, fear not. The hotel’s “A Country Christmas” has lots of other holiday fun in store, along with more twinkling lights than you can shake a candy cane at, an explosion of holiday decorations trimming the hotel, outside and within. This includes an outdoor Nativity display, carriage rides, photos with Santa and Holly Jolly Town Square, a Christmas-themed midway straight out of 1950s Any Town USA, with rides for little ones, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus and cupcakes frosted with a 2-inch swirl of icing. On one side of the Square is the Hall of Trees, with dozens of trees blinged out for various charities. Visitors can check The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

out all the trees in person, including one paying homage to the Beatles and another one themed to “Rise of the Guardians”, and then bid on them online to win everything from the ornaments to the presents beneath their branches. On the other side, 40-plus artisan/merchants provide lots of inspiration for the space beneath your own tree with jewelry, gourmet goodies, collectibles and more. Not to be missed is Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner and Show. Savor an amuse-bouche of dips and fruit followed by butternut squash soup with flaky crust topping and entree before this country music singing sensation and long-standing member of the Grand Ole Opry takes the stage. Gorgeous in her holiday finery, Morgan belts out a down-home Christmas with songs from her “Merry Christmas in London” album augmented by her platinumselling country hits. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is also part of “A Country Christmas.” Taking place at the nearby Grand Ole Opry, it has the Rockettes kicking up a synchronized storm with numbers that include the legendary “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.” And this year, Christmas spirit gets a high-tech boost with a 3-D journey to New York City during the show. INFORMATION Gaylord Opryland’s “A Country Christmas” is offered now through Dec. 25, 2012. Two- and three-night packages include accommodations; front-of-line access tickets to ICE!; ticket to Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes; tickets to Lorrie

Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner & Show; tickets for breakfast or luncheon cruise aboard the General Jackson Showboat; tickets to Christmas Holly Jolly Town Square including shops, demonstrations, story time with Mrs. Claus and more; admission to Treasures of the Holidays, a craft and gift show with 40-plus unique vendors through Dec. 16; admission to Hall of Trees; and more. The three-night package also includes tickets to Grand Ole Opry and complimentary admission to the “Kids Only” shopping area. The Christmassy DreamWorks Experience, through Jan. 1, 2013, features two- and three-night packages that include accommodations, front-ofline access tickets to ICE!, ShrekFeast Interactive Character Meal, VIP seating for the Holiday Shrektacular, DreamWorks Character Holiday Meet & Greets, scavenger hunt, souvenir family photo, character wake-up call and a welcome amenity upon check-in. Visit www.GaylordHotels.com/gaylordopryland/a-country-christmas/packages/ index.html#dw for specific packages and package inclusions. In addition to the Gaylord Opryland, the Gaylord Palms, Gaylord Texas and Washington D.C.-based National Gaylord, will also offer the ICE! indoor wonderland featuring DreamWorks’ characters from “Shrek the Halls” and “Madagascar” and special holiday packages. Visit www. GaylordHotels.com to see individual hotels’ specific offerings. Kathy Witt is a freelance writer and the author of “Atlanta, Georgia: A Photographic Portrait” (Twin Lights Publishers, $26.95) and “The Secret of the Belles” (Dog Ear Publishing, $12.95). Visit Kathy’s blog at www.TravelinTales.com or email at WittK@ fuse.net. (c) 2012, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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Time to Cash In?

How to know when to withdraw from Social Security Once upon a time, collecting Social Security was easy: You turned 65, signed up and started getting monthly checks. Then you died right away. Actually, you were probably already dead. After all,

when Social Security was introduced in 1935, Americans lived on average to just age 62. Today, of course, we live much longer. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, babies born today will live to be 78 years old, on average, and in the past few years, the age of full retirement has increased gradually and will continue to do so in an effort to keep pace with the increasing life expectancy. For most people of retirement age, full benefits start at 67. But you can start at age 62 for a reduced monthly check or wait until age 70 to get a bonus. Studies have found that taxpayers typically receive the same lifetime Social Security benefits if they withdraw at 62 or 70. But that is on average, and because no one knows exactly when they will die, it takes some research and educated guessing to pick the right date. Here are a few guidelines: ►The full retirement age depends on when you were born. The age is 67 for everyone born in 1960 or later and 65 to 66 for workers born between 1938 and 1960. ►Today, Americans who have worked for at least 40 quarters over their lifetime are free to start collecting at age 62 at a reduced sum. ►Social Security ups your payment each year you delay retirement beyond your full retirement age. This perk stops at age 70. Confused? Us, too. To understand the best time to start withdrawing Social Security, we turned to Kimberly Foss, a certified financial planner with Empyrion Wealth Management based in Roseville, Calif. “The bottom line is there really is no bottom line,” says Foss, who specializes in helping women in the transitions of divorce, retirement and other life changes. “Think of Social Security as longevity insurance,” she says. “We just don’t know when we’ll kick off, and Social Security is there in the event we live a very long time.” Think about the following factors: CONSIDER YOUR FAMILY HISTORY OF LONGEVITY The earliest eligible age for collecting Social Security is 62, but you

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will get 30 percent less if you start withdrawing at that age than you will if you wait until age 66, with prorated percentages for each year in between. “But statistically, the lifetime payout is about the same,” Foss says. If your relatives all lived until a ripe old age, it may make sense to wait to collect at a later age and enjoy larger checks for the rest of your long life. On the other hand, if you are facing a health crisis or otherwise suspect you may die at a younger age, it makes sense to collect earlier. CONSIDER YOUR SPOUSE These same rules apply, but remember that in the event of death, the surviving spouse keeps the higher of the two Social Security benefits. Considering life expectancy, it may make sense to delay a Social Security check as long as possible to reap the greater benefit. And the bigger the difference in earning history suggests that the higher-earning spouse should try to delay his or her withdrawal as long as possible. Likewise, a spouse who is much older than his partner should delay tapping into Social Security until age 70 if he can. CONSIDER YOUR EX If you have been divorced at least two years, were married for at least 10 years and are currently unmarried, you are eligible to collect a percentage of your ex’s Social Security benefits if they are larger than your entitlement. Again, you must be at least 62. This withdrawal does not affect your ex-spouse’s entitlements, and it doesn’t matter if they remarried. DO YOU HAVE OTHER INVESTMENTS? If you have a pension, retirement savings or other investments you can rely on, it can make sense to tap into those first, and turn to your Social Security only when you can withdraw the full amount. DO YOU PLAN TO KEEP WORKING? If you are happily working, continue to do so as long as you want _ you can earn as much as you please and still collect your full Social Security benefits. However, if you collect at age 62, you can only earn up to $14,640 before you are penalized $1 for every $2 earned above that sum. This formula grows to a penalty of $1 for every $3 earned above $38,880 for the year before your full retirement age. DON’T FORGET ABOUT MEDICARE Everyone is eligible for Medicare starting at age 65, not a minute before or after. Be sure to sign up three months before your 65th birthday, regardless of whether you plan to withdraw your Social Security, are still working or have other health insurance. WHATEVER YOU DO, WITHDRAW AT YOUR FULL RETIREMENT AGE! Once you decide what withdrawal is best for you, don’t forget to apply. There is no benefit to waiting beyond 70, and any missed payments are gone forever. Emma Johnson lives in New York City, where she writes about the intersect of money and life for http://theinsider.retailmenot.com/ _ the online magazine of RetailMeNot, the largest online coupon site in the United States. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Jumping for Joy with Aging But Dangerous!

By Christy DeSmith

The hangar was a mess of tattoos, goatees, empty pizza boxes, and grandmothers wearing designer sunglasses. This was not the usual Saturday morning crowd for Westside Skydivers, a small business based in Winsted, Minn., just 50 miles west of Minneapolis. Sure, the company's crew of brawny employees was behaving as usual, hauling arm-loads of harnesses and parachutes, unzipping their jumpsuits to cool off and expose their strong chests. It was the older, female customers who lent the element of surprise. As they lounged about the hangar in clusters of three or four, the women kept their voices low and their composure cool. Was anybody feeling spooked? "Oh no, not at all," boasted Diane Adams, 52, a seasoned skydiver from Bloomington, Minn. "I'm a very adventurous person." As if this were a matchmaking affair, each of the 15 women paired off with a professional skydiver. She would be tethered to this person, usually a 20- or 30-something man with a black T-shirt and a swagger, for the duration of her 13,000- or 18,000-foot plunge, depending on her level of experience. "It's cold up there," warned one of the pros. "Don't worry, I'm 55," cracked Mary Sue Palazzari, a three-time skydiver from Edina, Minn. "We're warm at this age." From the ground, a spectator could stretch her neck to see the constellation of specks forming above. Flocks of birds were twice mistaken as skydivers by the

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St. Paul-based Hubbard Broadcasting. When that didn't pan out, they settled on the current Aging But Dangerous model, a membership organization for 50-plus women complete with a newsletter, a website and a host of unusual outings designed to foster community while catching some thrills.

women's husbands and friends. Sure enough, a small army of red T-shirts eventually emerged to the foreground. The women's bodies swerved and sailed, bobbed and incrementally descended until the inscription on their shirts came into focus: Aging But Dangerous. Founded in 2009, Aging But Dangerous is a membership organization inspired by a simple observation. "We had friends who were just struggling with aging," said co-founder C. Suzanne Bates, now 64 years old. "Everyone was closing in and isolating themselves." For example, many of Bates' friends were doing cosmetic surgery, yet no one cared to discuss the matter, not even to share tips with their friends. Instead they went about the charade of "asking about one another's skin care regimens," said Bates, rolling her eyes. So Bates and her best friend Jean Ketcham, now 72, hatched an ambitious plan. They hoped to inspire 50-plus women to talk frankly about the issues they faced while growing older. They also wanted to enrich women's lives with a little more fun. The pair initially set its sights on a television show, which they pitched to

Now 150 members strong, the group meets every month for a "swarm," or a novel activity, often with an educational component. Aging But Dangerous has hosted wine tastings and fashion events. They've been known to take in orchestra concerts and baseball games. In addition to skydiving, the group's most daring undertakings have included trips to the tattoo parlor and target practice at Bill's Gun Shop and Range, not to mention the precolonoscopy party Bates now admits was a mistake, because it turned into a scene from the movie "Bridesmaids." The group specializes in things "you probably wouldn't do on your own," observed Joyce Landgren, 66, an Aging But Dangerous member and first-time skydiver from Minneapolis. Landgren has wanted to try skydiving since she was 18 or 19 years old, she explained. "But you get into work, you get into raising kids..." Her voice trailed off. "That's what Aging But Dangerous is about," said Bates, picking up where Landgren left off, "empowering women to do the things they always wanted to do." (c)2012 Star Tribune (Minneapolis) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Healthy Hearing

By Dr. Bettie Borton Au.D.

Beware of Do-it-yourself Hearing Care The number of Americans with hearing loss has grown to more than 34 million—roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population. Over the past generation, hearing loss among Americans has increased at a rate of 160 percent of U.S. population growth and is one of the most commonly unaddressed health Dr. Bettie Borton Au. D. conditions in America today.

Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk of personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.

But the vast majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. In fact, eight out of ten hearing aid users report improvements in their quality of life, according to a survey by BHI of more than 2,000 consumers. Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids in recent years, making them smaller with better sound quality. Designs are modern, sleek, and discreet. Clarity, greater directionality, better speech audibility in a variety of environments, better cell phone compatibility, less whistling and feedback than hearing aids of the past, and greater ruggedness for active lifestyles are common features. The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is warning consumers of the inherent risks associated with purchasing over-thecounter, one-size-fits-all hearing aids instead of consulting a hearing healthcare professional. Hearing loss is sometimes the symptom of a serious underlying medical problem. All 50 states require

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that consumers use a credentialed hearing care professional to purchase hearing aids. With the increasing number of Americans with hearing loss, it is important now, more than ever, for these individuals to be accurately evaluated and diagnosed. Most Americans consider hearing loss a condition that is simply associated with aging, and don’t know how to recognize the condition or who is qualified to diagnose and treat the condition. Audiologists are doctoral-level healthcare professionals who specialize in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating people with hearing loss and balance disorders for patients of all ages -- from newborns to the elderly. The first step in the treatment of a hearing problem is to have a hearing evaluation by an audiologist who will discuss the results and recommendations specific to your needs. Audiologists will recommend the most appropriate hearing aids that will be custom to your hearing loss and the everyday needs of your hearing. BHI also points out that hearing devices that are purchased over-the-counter or on the Internet without the consultation of a hearing healthcare professional may result in the devices not being accurately customized to the specific hearing needs of the individual. Consumers should be cautious of these over-the-counter hearing devices. Some may not come with any type of warranty and may not offer a return policy. Today’s hearing devices have many features that can be useful in specific environments, but if the devices are not programmed appropriately, the consumer may not find benefit or have success with the hearing devices. “Today’s state-of-the-art hearing aids should be programmed to the individual’s specific hearing loss requirements in order to provide good levels of benefit and customer satisfaction,” says Sergei Kochkin, BHI’s Executive Director. “The process requires a complete in-person hearing assessment in a sound booth; the training and skills of a credentialed

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hearing healthcare professional in order to prescriptively fit the hearing aids using sophisticated computer programs; and appropriate in-person follow-up and counseling. This is not possible when consumers purchase one-sizefits-all hearing aids over the Internet or elsewhere.”

Extensive research shows that individualized hearing health assessments and fittings programmed specific to the needs of the hearing aid user provide the best chance for optimal hearing enhancement and customer satisfaction. “The best advice BHI can give anyone purchasing a hearing aid is to find a state credentialed hearing healthcare professional and to communicate openly during the evaluation, fitting and trial period to increase the likelihood that you are receiving the best possible benefit from your hearing aids,” says Kochkin. “It will make a tremendous difference in your ability to hear and in your quality of life.” BHI has published a comprehensive consumer guide entitled, “Your Guide to Buying Hearing Aids.” (See www. betterhearing.org under hearing loss treatment). The guidelines give confidence to first-time hearing aid buyers by providing a detailed, step-bystep explanation of what to expect, ask, and look for when selecting and visiting a hearing healthcare professional and purchasing a hearing aid. You can also call your local hearing healthcare professional and ask any unanswered questions you may have about purchasing hearing devices.

References: Better Hearing Institute (BHI)

To learn more, visit doctorshearingclinic.com or call Doctors Hearing Clinic at (334) 396-1635.

Dr. Bettie B. Borton is a licensed audiologist in Alabama, was the first board certified audiologist in Montgomery, served as National Chair of the American Board of Audiology, and was recently elected as President Elect of the American Academy of Audiology.

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By Lisa Copeland

THE DATING COACH

Your ideal man? Is your ideal man George Clooney or Tom Hanks?

George is one gorgeous hunk, isn’t he? Being associated with him makes you feel so cool and so alive. Everyone envies you, wishing they were in your shoes. The jet-set lifestyle alone is such fun and so thrilling, as the two of you travel in private jets back and forth between California, his private home in Italy and George’s latest movie set. On a whim, George sends 10 dozen roses to your office just to impress you. He wines and dines you at the best restaurants in the world with the best food and the best tables. He shares with you tales of his antics with friends Brad (as in Pitt), Matt (as in Damon) and Julia (as in Roberts). He brings tears to your eyes with stories of his beloved pet pig, Max who died in 2006 that he still misses. You have a lot of fun with George and you hope that you are the one he’ll give up his bachelor days for and marry. Life is always thrilling even if it is mostly about George and even if the world sees you as just one more in a line of many women who’ve tried to capture his heart. Your pet dies while you’re together. George kisses you on the head, and says “I’m sorry,” then goes back to his latest movie set. You excuse him for not really being there for you, justifying it with how good your life is with him. And then, one day, George comes home and tells you he’s done with the relationship. He breaks your heart as he ships you out of his life. Months later you see he is with someone else and you cry, wishing you were still with him, even if he wasn’t there for you when your beloved pet died. Then there’s Tom. Tom is sweet, kind and compassionate. Life is nice _ calm, easy, simple, with a few fun events or trips thrown in from time to time. You spend hours together sharing stories of your day over dinner or holding hands at a movie.

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Sometimes, you admit, his stories can be a bit boring and you have sometimes dreamt of what life with George Clooney would be like. Yet, on that day you caught a cold, Tom made you soup and ran to the store for cough syrup and a humidifier so you could sleep better that night. On your anniversary, he wrote you a beautiful poem from his heart. And then there are those days on his way home from work, when he thinks of how much he loves you and stops to get you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He always wants to hear about your day and when you say there is a problem with the car or the furnace, he takes care of it. Your safety and your happiness are a No. 1 priority to him. Tom’s the kind of man who will love you, care about you and take care of you until the end of time. So it’s time to ask you this question: Who would you look for as your mate in life? George or Tom? A lot of women love the George’s of the world _ the edgy man who makes a woman feel alive with his flirtatious behavior, crazy lifestyle and handsome looks. He can be the nicest man in the world to a lot of people, but not very present or caring to the feelings of the lady he’s hanging out with in the moment. And many women pass over the Tom’s of the world thinking they are kind of cute, but a bit boring. A Tom type of man would be there for you _ emotionally, physically and spiritually, yet women throw these types of men away all the time, thinking “They just aren’t George.” George’s are the best fun. They are! But as a woman over 50, when you look to your future for a committed relationship, do you want a playful, nice George who is all about George? Or do want a kind, compassionate Tom, who is all about pleasing and loving you? Lisa Copeland, “The Dating Coach Who Makes Dating Fun and Easier after 50!” Find out more at http://www.findaqualityman.com (c) 2012, Lisa Copeland, http://www.findaqualityman.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

www.technilicious.com

Guide to Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)

“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” This was a saying we all chuckled about as kids, but as our parents have grown older we notice that they are less steady on their feet and falling could be serious. We all want the security of knowing that if our parent fell due to loss of balance or sudden illness that they can call for help by using an SOS button. You may have done some of the basics to your parent’s living space such as adding grab bars in the bathroom and night lights in the halls but according to the CDC, sudden falls are the most common cause of injuries and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year 35 percent of adults over the age of 65 suffer a fall. And twenty to thirty percent of those who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures or head traumas, that can impact their ability to live independently. Known as Personal Emergency Response Systems or PERS, there are special home phone systems that work with a wireless “call-button” worn on a belt clip, wristwatch or necklace. If your loved one is injured or feeling suddenly ill they can press the call-button they are wearing, the button send a signal to the phone that calls a 24 hour monitoring service. The service center will dispatch help to your loved ones home plus place calls/text messages to you or a neighbor or a closer relative, depending on how you set up the service. Most people do not know this, but PERS providers can be national or local. Local PERS providers are companies typically affiliated with a county or city social service agency. If you search the words “Personal Emergency Response Systems” you will bring up the websites of the national providers. However, if you add the name of a county or city to the same search you will find the local providers. It's worth investigating both types of services. The PERS phones and call buttons are not new, they are a proven product that has been around for 25 years or more. The hardware is either purchased or rented plus you pay a monthly monitoring fee. Neither Medicare nor Medicaid will pay for the purchase of equipment. Some hospitals and social service agencies may subsidize rental fees for lower income users.

Home-Based Systems A leader in fall detection is the national provider Philips Lifeline. The Lifeline system, phone and pendant with AutoAlert, is the first pendantstyle help button that contains technology to automatically detect a sudden fall. If the pendant senses no motion or inactivity with the person for 30 seconds, the pendant will place a call for help. ADT is another national provider, and well established brand for home security monitoring. The ADT medical alert system can be added to their home security monitoring system and can call for assistance when the pendant button is pushed. The benefit for your parents is both the home security and their physical safety can be monitored. Mobile Systems For active seniors’ on-the-go, who drives, play golf, or travel there is a new affordable PERS solutions that connects with their mobile phone. GreatCall, the mobile phone provider of the Jitterbug handset is the first company to provide a mobile PERS solution with the 5Star Urgent Response system. The system provides a wireless call-button that will connect them directly to a GreatCall emergency response agent or 911. The portable button can hang on a keychain, belt clip or be carried in a purse or jacket pocket. In addition to the mobile PERS, GreatCall has created some easy to use mobile apps for health and safety by providing a range of tools, such as medication management, symptom checkers and professional health advice, all available on an iPhone or Android. The Med Coach app will provide daily pill medication reminders and automatic refills. The Live Nurse app is the ability to call a nurse 24/7 for health advice – no appointment necessary.

The Picks The purchase price for an emergency phone can range from $90 to more than $300. Some phones will charge an installation fee and a monthly monitoring fee for 24/7 coverage. The cost per month can range from $20 to $45 and higher for additional services such as medication reminding or thermostat monitoring. There may be rentals available through local distributors, or social service agencies, monthly fees can range from $30 to $60 for rental plus monitoring. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Fe at u re d A r t i st T h i s Month, Michelle Motley Giddens lines and colors put together so that they can say something. For me that is the very basis of my painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible that in myself that I can only clarify in paint.”

I make art, how I see myself. My work was featured in a local exhibition, European Landscape Project: Archaeological Sites at the S. Agostino Conference Center in Cortona, Italy

Coleus with Blooms

As long as I can remember, I have had an interest in art, creativity, simply making things with my own 2 hands. As a child, I would always draw the comics from the Sunday paper. I would draw the pictures for my science projects and book reports. I had wonderful teachers at Saint James School that influenced and encouraged me. I received my bachelor’s degree in Communication from Auburn University in 1998 thinking I would become a great marketing executive, but in reality I was left searching for a deeper meaning and purpose to my work. The business world was not for me. I returned to school at Georgia State University where I graduated with a BFA in Art Education in 2004. It afforded me the opportunity to study art, immerse myself in different mediums. I studied oil painting with Cheryl Goldsleger. She taught me how to use my eye for color in my compositions. Paula Eubanks showed me how to use my art to teach children the lessons and value of art. I studied abroad in Cortona, Italy for a semester. This changed everything in me, my outlook on life, how I look at art, how

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After several years as an art teacher, I was blessed to become a mother. I spent most of what free time I had painting. Between feedings and diaper changing, I would get lost in my paintings. My husband would find me closed up in the laundry room with the baby in the bouncer fast asleep. I have never created art to sell. It has always been for my own pleasure. As my husband would say, “Why buy art when you can make it.”

Phalaenopsis

I am drawn to artists who have bright color palettes, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso. But Georgia O’Keefe inspires me the most. Her art speaks to my heart. And most people reference her when they see my art. O’Keefe once said, “It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective Silver Dollar from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is the

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I walked through the doors at Gallery One needing some guidance. Sandi Aplin got me to think about selling my art maybe not returning to teaching and making art as my career. I became a member in 2010. Talk about scary! The whole world would see me for who I really am. My painting “Silver Dollar” was accepted into the 45th Annual Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition. This was the 1st major exhibition for me. This painting was also featured in the Birmingham Art Association Juried Show. In the Fall of 2011, my painting “Coleus with Blooms” was accepted into the MAG Regions Back Exhibition. To be surrounded by such talented artists has been extremely encouraging. I am still searching and I am not quite there yet, but I am on the right path. If you make your way over to my studio, don’t get too excited it’s my dining room. I have to work around the cooking and the laundry. Then there’s carpool, sports and homework. And painting in between.

Visit Gallery One Fine Art 423 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, AL Gallery Director Sandi Aplin sandiaplin@aol.com 334.269.1114 www.galleryonefineart.com

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Art & Soul

Quail Hollow Gardens

This is the time of the year when we scratch our heads and try to think about the perfect gift, one that keeps on giving year after year. Coach Pat Dye is offering us amazing gift suggestions. “Japanese maple trees from Quail Hollow Gardens is a dream come true” Says Coach Dye. “I’ve been fascinated by Japanese maple trees since 1981 when my landscaper planted one of these beautiful trees in my Auburn, Alabama yard. The large green multitrunk seedling he brought in was the most gorgeous tree I had ever seen. The ever-changing beauty of these magnificent trees has enhanced my life as I have studied and lived with them. Over the years I have dug and moved many Japanese maples (some over 50 years old), planted every cultivar I could get my hands on, and loved every single one of them.”

your property.” he continues, “ The older they get the more valuable they become. I strongly urge all landscapers and landscape architects to incorporate these beautiful, versatile trees in your landscape designs. We have trees available from 1 gallon to 20 year-old mature trees. Our mature trees are priced based on size and variety.” TOURS Quail Hollow Gardens offers personally tours with Coach Pat Dye. The cost of group tours is $5 per person with a 10 person minimum and is perfect for garden clubs, senior groups, schools, civic clubs and other organizations. Lunch is available upon request and can be provided for a total of $20 per person for both lunch and tour. Please contact Lynn Huggins, Sales Manager, at 334-257-1519 or 334401-9929 also, lynn@coachpatdye.com for further details and availability.

By Sandi Aplin

DIRECTIONS Quail Hollow Gardens (GPS) address 768 Red Creek Road, Notasulga, Al 36866 From I 85, take Exit 42 (Wire Road)) from Montgomery, turn left onto Wire Road; from Auburn, turn onto Wire Road. Continue past the truck stop left onto Macon County Road 57 (first paved road to the left). Continue about ½ mile and turn left onto Macon County Road 59 (first paved road to the left). Go 1.8 miles and turn left onto dirt road. Follow road through the black iron gates; on the driveway until your first right up the hill. I am planning a road trip with friends to do some Christmas shopping. I hope you will do the same. If you cannot, we have gift certificates available here at Gallery One Fine Art, 423 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, Al 36106, 334-269-1114.

Sandi Aplin, Director of Gallery One Fine Art A free lance writer living in Montgomery, Alabama www.galleryonefineart.com

“Each Japanese maple tree has its own personality and I look forward to watching spring’s new growth and summer’s changing colors, admiring fall’s deep yellows, reds, golds and orange hues and appreciating winter’s view of spectacular limb structures. Japanese maples in your landscape not only provide you and your neighbors with fascinating colors during the changing of the seasons, they will also enhance the value of The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2012

{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond

MONTGOMERY DOWNTOWN “MJ Obscura” Rosa Parks Museum Through January 4th

In the groundbreaking exhibit, “MJ Obscura” artist Amalia Amaki looks at the warriorship in the essential nature and mission of the iconic performer, Michael Jackson. While a part of his intent was obviously to entertain, there is a culturally intelligent and politically astute side of Michael Jackson that has not been seriously explored. Amaki’s body of work introduces a few basic concepts that will be elaborated on and more fully developed in subsequent artwork and a book in progress of the same title. This exhibit is particularly unique because it will not only feature the art of Amalia Amaki, but it will also feature personal items once belonging to Michael Jackson.call 334.241.8608 or visit http:// trojan.troy.edu/community/rosa-parksmuseum/index.html

MONTGOMERY

A Christmas Carol, Adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens Alabama Shakespeare Festival Through December 23 The snowy London streets ring with carols that set the stage for Dickens’ magical tale of hope and redemption. Join us as the ghosts of the past, present and future reawaken Scrooge’s conscience. A great family outing to brighten your holiday. Recommended for ages 6+. Appropriate for most audiences. Ticket information 1.800.841.4273 or visit www.asf.net or in

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person at the ASF box office located at 1 Festival Drive in the heart of Montgomery’s beautiful Blount Cultural Park.

BIRMINGHAM

Winter Wonderland McWane Science Center Through January 6th

Come inside the museum this holiday season and let your imagination be your guide through the family favorite - Winter Wonderland exhibit. Wonder is in the air as children explore the snow room or try to catch fish through the ice. Brave winter wonder seekers can even sled down a giant slide between the third and second floors in the museum. Then, build an igloo out of ice blocks. Bring your family to the most magical place around. www. mcwane.org

CALERA

The North Pole Express Train Ride Heart of Dixie Railroad Through December 17th “All Aboard,” says the conductor, and the journey to the North Pole begins. Upon arrival at the decorated North Pole, Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves board the train to visit with everyone, so be sure to bring a camera. There will be chocolate milk and cookies and Christmas carols along with the live musician by Mr. Jim. Listen to a special Christmas story and receive a special Christmas gift. Upgrade to First class service to the North Pole! The Silver Maple and Kayenta railcars will offer first class service - hot chocolate in a souvenir mug, special dessert treat, premium gift and specialized service.

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Wear your pajamas. This event sells out each year, so purchase tickets in advance Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum. Call 205.757.8383 or visit www.hodrrm.org

MONTGOMERY

Christmas Lights Festival Montgomery Zoo December 6-31st 5:30-9:30pm See the Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland sparkling with thousands of festive lights and decorations. Stroll the many pathways or enjoy a brisk ride on the Santaland Express train ride. And, no Christmas Light Festival experience would be complete without a visit with Santa. Santa appears nightly through Dec 23 when he must leave to deliver presents to all the children around the world. The Zoo also has a Santa Craftshop where you can make last minute gifts for that someone special. Enjoy live entertainment nightly at the Overlook Cafe. Take a ride on a Haflinger horse at the Horse Trail Rides. And don’t forget to check out all the snacks and treats at the Overlook Cafe...mmmmmm, hot chocolate. www.montgomeryzoo.com

MONTGOMERY

AUM Holiday Market AUM Taylor Center 230 Friday, December 7th, 9-3pm Come complete your holiday shopping at the annual AUM Holiday Market, featuring quality local and handmade goods from area vendors. Items will include candles, jewelry, body products, knitted goods, pet supplies, arts and crafts, and much more. Admission is free. AUM classes will not be in session, so parking will be free and plentiful. For questions, call 334-2443642. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


WETUMPKA

Christmas on the Coosa Downtown Wetumpka Saturday, December 8th Gold Star Park & the Courthouse Veranda— Christmas extravaganza with arts and crafts, parade, food, quilt show, classic car show, entertainment and activities on the Coosa River culminating with a spectacular fireworks exhibition at dusk. For more info call, 334-567-1313 or 334-567-

4811. or visit www.wetumpkachamber.com

TUSCALOOSA

Alabama Blues Project’s Evening of Art & Blues Saturday, December 8th, 5-11pm The 2012 Evening of Art & Blues will be held at Hotel Capstone on the campus of The University of Alabama. Evening of Art & Blues features a silent auction that includes paintings, prints, photography, jewelry, pottery, getaway packages and gift baskets. Guests will be entertained with live blues music from some wonderful Alabama acts. Birmingham’s 2BLU and the Lucky Stiffs, a 2012 International Blues Challenge contender, will headline the Evening. The entertainment will be rounded out with Tuscaloosa’s Naked Tater Blues. Hors d’oeuvres are complimentary and a cash bar will be on hand. $25 in advance; $30 at the door. 205.752.6263 www.alabamablues.org

MONTGOMERY

Harpsichord Ensemble Chamber Music Concert by Candlelight Christchurch Sanctuary Wednesday, December 12th, 6pm Delight in the true spirit of the Christmas season at the annual Harpsichord Ensemble Chamber Music Concert by Candlelight featuring the music of Corelli, Telemann, John Rutter et. al., performed at the Christchurch Sanctuary, 8800 Vaughn Rd. Featured artists are Margaret Cauthen, Choirmaster of The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Christchurch; Ahrim Kim, MSO Cello Fellow; Robin Scott, MSO Violin Fellow; Dr. Robert Scott, MSO Flautist; and the Christchurch Chancel Choir under the leadership of Maestro Thomas Hinds, as well as vocal soloists Christina Burrouhgs, Leah Dubberly, Amy Hanchey, and Lance Hensley. Christchurch welcomes you to warm your heart at this free concert—and you are also welcome to stay for the Champagne & Dessert Reception (Tickets on sale to benefit the Christchurch Pipe Organ Fund at $20.00 each), to honor the musicians, and join in fellowship in this beautiful Christian setting. Visit www.christchurchxp.net for more details.

MONTGOMERY DOWNTOWN

MONTGOMERY

MOBILE

Capitol Heights by Candlelight--Toyland! Saturday, December 15th, 3-7pm Hark! The Capitol Height Civic Association extends an invitation to its annual neighborhood Christmas tour: Capitol Heights by Candlelight-Toyland! The yearly walking tour features homes in the historic neighborhood of Capitol Heights, decorated for Christmas and full of good cheer. The seasonal ambience is further enhanced by carriage rides, strolling carolers, home-baked goodies, and warm cider. This year’s theme, Toyland, refers to a collection of toys for the USMC Toys for Tots during the tour. The neighbors are decking the halls, musicians are planning to sing many a yuletide carole, and the beautiful homes and their hosts will be welcoming guests who come to join in the Christmas cheer. Tickets( $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and children under twelve free) may be purchased in advance at Sandra Nickel’s Realty, Partner’s Realty, Stonehenge, and the Medicine Shoppe. Grab a friend, bring a toy, and come join the fun at Capitol Heights by Candlelight: Toyland 2012. For more information 334.530.1097; www.capitolheightsmontgomery.org

Montgomery Symphony “Holiday Pops” MPAC Monday, December 17th, 7:30 pm

Make a holiday memory with someone you love at the Montgomery Symphony’s Holiday Pops. Join Maestro Thomas Hinds and special guest Millinee Bannister for an evening of holiday “classics” with everything from Deck the Halls to Sleigh Ride. Special Buy One, Get One Free prices in the Mezzanine, Loge and Balcony. www. mpaconline.org

Moonpie Drop New Year’s Eve with The Commodores Downtown Mobile December 31, 2012 Instead of celebrating in a “Brick House,” Mobile will hit the streets in the premiere New Year’s Eve celebration in the Central Time Zone. The Commodores will be the headlining act as Mobile rings in 2013, along with the MoonPie Drop, a laser show and fireworks from atop the RSA BankTrust Building and in Mobile Bay. The free events will kick off with a Mardi Gras-style parade through downtown. At midnight, eyes in Mobile and across the Central Time Zone will be on Mobile’s Mardi Gras icon – the MoonPie. For more details on the event, visit www.mobilenewyear.com.

The Boomer Market is to Big to Ignore...How will you Seize the Opportunity? Please submit any events/pictures to jim@riverregionboom.com

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By Greg Budell

MALE CALL

A Christmas Story

THE $7,000 CHRISTMAS HAM (Greg note- This story takes place in South Florida, but I have no doubt the people of the River Region would have responded similarly. Merry Christmas!)

The best Christmas stories are the ones that actually happened.

This past October, I attended the South Florida reunion of WAXY 106- a phenomenal radio station in its time. It was great to see the gang and relive radio days that will never be possible again.

Among those in attendance were the legendary Rick Shaw and a fella named Mike Bredahl. Rick was a 50 year South Florida radio personality, now retired. Mike was an ad salesman at WAXY in those days and a darn good one. The three of us got to talking about a day that speaks to the spontaneous generosity of everyday people. One of Mike’s accounts was Armour, makers of canned hams. Thirty years ago this month, Mike, Rick and I devised a “Ham It Up” promotion. For 10 days running up to Christmas, we awarded an Armour ham to a listener who had the luck to be caller #9 after I played a grunting pig on the air. On the final day of the contest, we congratulated the winning woman who casually offered the following-

“This means so much to me! My husband left my 6 year old daughter and me a couple months ago and it’s been very hard for us. Now I know we’ll have something good to eat for Christmas dinner. Thank you so much Greg!” SOCK IN THE GUT! Her words were spoken without a shred of self-pity. She was simply grateful for the ham.

After I played her winning moment on the air, I was totally NOT surprised to see the lights on my phone bank begin to flicker. Something special was happening.

One caller after another said “I want to do something for that nice lady!” Before 9AM, the studio surge was out of control and the WAXY switchboard was also being bombarded with calls.

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There was no better team mate for these situations than Mr. Rick Shaw, Ever. I called him in from his office to play the tape for him.

If there’s a bigger mush-bag in this world than me, it’s Rick. I saw his eyes moisten when he heard the listener’s gratitude for a canned ham. “How do we handle this, Boodle?”, he asked.

The date was December 17th. I was to be out the following week for my holiday homecoming trip to Chicago so there was no time to waste.

The next day, Saturday, we scrapped the scheduled programming and I came in to “sell” requests and dedications for whatever callers might want to donate to the Christmas fund for our adopted Mom and daughter.

Rick was especially gifted at producing tugyour-heart-out-of-its-socket audio promos for these occasions and again, he whipped up a tear-jerker announcing our plan for the next day.

The lady won the ham at 8:30 and Rick had the promo running in between songs an hour later. Not much time, but we figured it should be enough to raise a few hundred dollars. We had a couple volunteers come in Saturday to collect the money as it was dropped off. I apologized for the inconvenience but we wanted to make a difference for our adopted family quickly. As always, my audience said “what inconvenience?”

At 6 AM the next day, I hit the air, asking for $5 pledges. Callers paid for their requests but there were so many I would have been on the air the entire weekend trying to play them back!

We were originally going to run the event until 9 AM but Rick said “let’s go until noon”. From the 4th floor studio vantage point, I could see cars coming and going to our collection point in the parking lot. I did not want to announce a running total so we could truly surprise our special Mom the following Monday.

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I can only guess at how much we could have done if we’d had the internet in 1982. We stopped at noon and dumped a big glass bowl of cash and checks on the table in our break room. My head was spinning- I was literally physically overwhelmed from the entire morning- so I excused myself to hit the rest room to splash some water on my face.

On my way, I bumped into our wonderful station manager, a true gentleman named Doug Donoho. He’d made a special trip in to give us an “attaboy” but before he could say a word I just lost it. The day could not have been more successful but the privilege of being bombarded by so many generous people over 6 hours came out in sobs of gratitude. On Monday, we sent a limo over to pick up Mom and daughter. The entire staff was gathered to greet them and yell “Merry Christmas” when they arrived. There was almost $8,000 waiting for them. They cried. We cried. Happy tears and lots of them. All from a ham!

You tell me who made all of that happen! Hundreds of people calling to win a hamon the last day of the contest- and she gets through! And from that, a scene reminiscent of the end of “It’s A Wonderful Life” where George Bailey experiences the spontaneous generosity of friends and strangers.

Those things really happen sometimes! The little girl would now be 36. Maybe her Mom is a Grandma now. I do know the little girl had a nice Christmas, and the rest of the cash was used to catch up on rent, buy clothes and purchase a TV. “Dad” took theirs when he split. The memory is as fresh at this moment, and it is a good one. Ham yourself a very Merry Christmas!

Greg Budell lives in Montgomery with his dog Hershey. He’s a 25 year veteran of radio who hosts the Greg & Susan morning show 6-9 am and Happy Hour 3-6 pm on Newstalk 107.9, Greg can be reached at gregbudell@aol.com

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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BOOM! December 2012  
BOOM! December 2012  

The River Region's 50+ Lifestage Magazine